The Fading the Top 25 Weekly Free Picks article for Week 9 is ready to go. Ohio State probably shouldn't have gotten out of Wisconsin with a win, but they did. The Buckeyes shouldn't have lost to Penn State based on all the statistics, but they did. Penn State's win in the raucous environment on Saturday night boosted them into the Top 25. Michigan now has the No. 2 spot behind Alabama, who continues to roll on a weekly basis.
The goal of this article is to track how teams in the weekly Top 25 do against the spread. We're here to look a little deeper than most and figure out how the top-ranked teams do at the betting window. In addition, in this weekly article I'll be taking a look at which Top 25 teams I think are best to fade that particular week.
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In last week's article, I talked about it being one of my least favorite slates of the year. I only selected two games and both of them were one unit plays. We went 1-1 on those plays, so no real damage done.
The loser was on Virginia, as their offense couldn't get anything going against a strong North Carolina secondary. The Cavaliers defense actually held their own better than the score would indicate, but offensive woes cost them in this contest.
The winner was on Texas Tech in what was one of the wildest games you will ever see. Oklahoma won 66-59. It looks more like a basketball score than football, but both teams put up 824 yards in this one. It has to be discouraging to put up 824 yards and still lose a game. How about this number? Patrick Mahomes attempted a whopping 88 passes and threw for 734 yards. They still managed to lose. Fortunately for us, they did cover the spread.
Overall, the Top 25 went 9-11 against the spread last week. So far this season, fading teams inside the Top 25 has been a good betting strategy. Several plays this week, so let's get to the selections.
Play #1- Florida State +5 (4 unit play) vs. Clemson Florida State isn't getting enough respect in this one. The Seminoles have been inconsistent this year, but they are just as talented as Clemson. Florida State in a night game at home catching five points? Sign me up. Both teams are well-coached, and both teams are coming off a bye week. Clemson hasn't played as well as they did last season, and I feel like they still have plenty to prove as well.
Would it surprise me if Clemson wins this game? Certainly not. It would surprise me, though, if this game isn't close. Florida State's defense has looked better in the last couple games, and Clemson's offense hasn't had the same explosiveness they showed a year ago.
This line is a clear overreaction to the struggles Florida State had early in the season. Four units on the home underdog.
Play #2- Purdue +13.5 (4 unit play) vs. Penn State We often see teams play better, at least in the short-term, after getting rid of a coach who hasn't had any success. Purdue fought Nebraska hard on the road last week, and the Boilermakers offense has moved the ball pretty well with Blough at quarterback this year.
Penn State had only 276 total yards of offense last week in their win at home against Ohio State. The Buckeyes really melted down and gave them the game in that one. The Nittany Lions are riding high and feeling great about themselves, and this is a dangerous spot for them. While I do think Penn State will win the game, I expect them to have some trouble here. Take the home underdog in a strong situational spot.
Play #3- Oklahoma State +4 (4 unit play) vs. West Virginia Sooner or later people are going to find out that West Virginia isn't as good as their record. I'm going to bet that it is sooner. West Virginia isn't a bad team, but they haven't beaten anyone really good so far this year. The Mountaineers secondary has been vulnerable against good passing attacks, and Mason Rudolph and the Oklahoma State passing game have been excellent of late.
West Virginia is 2-7 ATS in their last nine games against a team with a winning record. Oklahoma State is 26-10-1 ATS in their last 37 games in the month of October. Mike Gundy is a good coach, and I think he'll have his team ready to go here. I think they'll pull the outright upset, but I'll make it a four unit play on Oklahoma State +4.
Play #4- Virginia +33 (3 unit play) vs. Louisville This line doesn't make sense to me. Louisville closed as a 31-point favorite at Marshall a few weeks ago. Marshall's starting quarterback was injured for that one as well. Now, Louisville has to go to Virginia to play an improved Virginia team and they are laying 33 points? Virginia let us down last weekend, but I have to go back to them here. Bronco Mendenhall is a quality coach, and after last week's disappointing performance, I think Virginia's offense puts up enough to keep them within the number here.
Play #5- Wisconsin -8.5 (1 unit play) vs. Nebraska I'm limiting this one to a one unit play because Wisconsin has a lot of injuries. Still, I think the time to fade Nebraska is here. The public is backing Nebraska because of their poll ranking. I don't really care what their ranking is right now, but I do know that the Cornhuskers aren't that good of a team. Wisconsin's defense is the real deal, and the Badgers have a terrific home-field advantage.
Last Week's Results: 1 Win (Texas Tech +14 for 1 unit ) 1 Loss (Virginia +8 for 1 unit)
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 11 Wins 14 Losses (+$250)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week: 9 Wins 11 Losses
Cumulative Overall Top 25 ATS Record Year to Date: 79 Wins (45.7%) 93 Losses (53.8%) 1 Tie (0.6%)
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